Call for proposals for Post45 special issue: ‘The potential of cliché’

deadline for submissions: 
June 7, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Harriet Smith Hughes & Siraj Sindhu

When we call something a cliché, we’re typically calling it tired, banal, repetitive, or boring. Whether it’s an art object, a turn of speech, or a pattern of behavior, we’re identifying what it lacks: distinctiveness, originality, creativity, thrill. But in pointing to a cliché, we’re also pointing to a response. Noticing cliché creates a fissure. It elicits a reflexive movement, by which we’re forced to reckon with the repetitiousness of language; the ideological and economic structures that shape the creation of art; the social patterns that guide how we relate and self-present. Pointing to cliché, in other words, opens up the possibility for subversion. It also might point to a horizon in communication, against which we’re continually forming and reforming.

This Post45 special issue will pick up on aesthetic, political, and social concerns that attend the thinking of cliché today. Some questions that contributors might want to explore include (but are certainly not limited to!):

  • How does cliché relate to the repetitions and subversions of gender performativity?
  • How do cliché’s conceptual origins in industrial manufacturing find expression in the aesthetic forms of advanced capitalism?
  • How does cliché shape, inform, and possibly limit our political and community organizing?
  • How have specific poets, artists, and writers worked within and against cliché?
  • How does cliché find form in psychoanalysis?
  • What are recent political examples of the propagandistic functions of cliché?
  • What are the effects and affordances of cliché in intimate relationships, expressions of love, and sex?
  • How do we approach the clichés that attach to scholarly concepts, academic buzzwords, and disciplinarity?

Essays are expected to be 7000-10,000 words. If interested, please submit a 300 word abstract and a brief bio to Harriet Smith Hughes ( and Siraj Sindhu ( by 7 June 2024. Full drafts of accepted papers will be due by 15 September 2024.